When you are busy running a business, a home, and a life, nothing can knock your feet out from under you like the flu meandering its way through your family over the course of 3 weeks! And as more information and studies become available about the effectiveness of herbal remedies and supplements, more and more moms are looking to natural options to keep themselves and their families healthy.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it is about the importance of prevention and proper hand-washing, so I am not going to hammer that point today, but I do want to talk about some additional prevention/immune-strengthening steps that we can take that aren’t repeated to us daily every time we turn on the radio, or go to the grocery store. Now, next week, we will be talking about herbs because that is hands down my most requested topic every fall, but I don’t want you to ignore the groundwork that we are laying today in favor of the “flashy” botanicals. I am giving you a framework with each post this month as another piece in that framework and all equally important!
So, without further ado, let's get to it!
Many of us likely think of the lymph system as a sort of secondary, circulatory-type system that moves stuff around and sometimes makes your neck sore when you have a cold. The truth is that it is every bit as essential as our circulatory system and it is an immune system staple! The lymph system is sort of like the garbage collector of the body, it picks up waste, dead blood cells and pathogens from throughout the body and transports it to larger lymph nodes where antibodies can neutralize pathogens and otherwise filter out the waste. Without this function our bodies would quickly accumulate waste and have a significantly decreased ability to fight off the pathogens that we face on a daily basis.
This system does have a bit of an interesting characteristic, in that it doesn’t have a pump to keep fluid moving through it. Our circulatory system has our heart that keeps it moving, but our lymph system is entirely dependent on our own movement to pump the lymphatic fluid. This means that we have a great deal of control over how effectively this part of our immune system functions!
There are several ways to keep the lymph system moving such as deep breathing, and dry brushing, but the simplest way is to simply move regularly! As your muscles contract and relax, they cause the nearby lymph vessels to contract and relax as well, thereby pumping the lymph fluid throughout the system for filtration.
A bonus tip for this is to drink lots of water during the day. Your lymph system is doing lots of work collecting waste and getting it ready to be flushed from the body, but that cannot be accomplished effectively if you are dehydrated. And we don’t want those wastes sitting around indefinitely!
Healthy Stress Management
We have talked about the importance of stress management previously, so I won’t over-do it today, but I do want to touch on why it is so important for immune health. Chronic, elevated cortisol production by the adrenal glands has been shown to decrease our production of white blood cells, as well as deplete B vitamins and vitamin C, both of which are important immune system nutrients! Check out my previous stress management post to learn ways to nourish and heal your stress response system.
Skip the Sugar
Sugary foods can suppress the immune for several hours after ingesting, in addition to depleting key nutrients that the body needs to function optimally. I recommend skipping sugar when you begin to feel something coming on, as well as when you know that you will be in a large gathering that could expose you to various unfriendly microbes.
As I said before, we will be jumping into some different herbs and remedies in the coming weeks, but I hope that this week has shown you how simple (and free!) it can be to give your immune system a really effective boost. I would love for you to let me know which of these tips you are looking forward to trying this week!